Review Blog

Apr 22 2008

The Gulps by Rosemary Wells

cover image

Illustrated by Marc Brown. N.Y., Little Brown, 2007
(Age 5+) The Gulp family pack up their Dreamliner van ready to go on a holiday to Dizzyworld but disaster strikes on the way! The van stops and no matter what they throw out to lighten the load, it won’t start again.

"The car says no! declared Dawn. "This family‘s too fat to roll!"

Farmer Spratt comes to the rescue, but the Gulps, with the exception of Dawn, adore take away food, don't eat vegetables, watch TV instead of exercising and find that they are too fat to manage the smallest farm chore.

As Dawn says, "Somebody’s going to have to exercise and eat right" so that the van will start again and they can continue on their holiday.

Wells' text and Marc Brown's illustrations make a delightful combination in getting the exercise and healthy eating message across. The Gulps, outfitted with rabbit ears, are humorously portrayed, and children will delight in identifying signs like Belly Up Burgers. Dawn is a great role model as the only family member who loves vegetables and isn't taken in by fast food and sugar snacks.

According to the cover, the illustrator lost 15 lbs while drawing the pictures for this book as he contemplated the message of the Gulps! This could be a useful book to have available when looking at healthy eating and exercise habits and the limitations that being overweight can bring. Teachers may need to use it in a sensitive way if there are overweight children in the class.
Pat Pledger

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